Apparently you have to do something for x amount of days to make it a habit. People argue about the length of time but they are all most definitely below 100 days. This year I managed to get my longest run on my daily step goal (of 10,000 steps a day) to 103 days. But no it hasn’t become a habit. I am back to some days really smashing it out the park and others barely managing over 2 thousand!
Habit formed in the Mind
No I would definitely argue that to form a habit you need to do it mentally. I guess that for most people by doing it for the number of days stated they may conquer things in the mind too. This just isn’t the case for me.
You see the thing is I am really getting to a stage in life where I suddenly look and think what is my purpose in life? What have I done and where am I going? All I feel I have done is things that anyone could have just stepped in and taken my place. When it has come to my exercise, even for this streak it has been fitting it around everyone else.
Lockdown gave me the freedom to have time to move more, especially when there was no school run to consider. I find it hard to believe that I deserve to give myself a few hours a day. I appreciate the importance of it but it feels hard justifying it. Not to mention the “jokey” comments from my family.
Consistency is Key for a Habit
Another thing I hear is how being consistent is the key. I know that this has worked for Sarah and Natalie. Again something I struggle with because I am fitting time in for me around everyone. I know deep down the answer is to say no I am important. The problem is that the whole reason I work for myself with unreliable income is so that I can do just be there for the for my family.
Things just come up. I have even tried to make it that I swim every Wednesday – but what with the weather, river levels, the availability at the lake, having someone to swim with, changes – so must my plans.
Having something to Aim for to Build a Habit
With races being cancelled and not always being allowed to exercise in groups I have needed something else to aim for. Setting myself goals or challenges – and even sometimes helping others. Ridiculously I have been pushing myself to run more miles than the previous month. It started so slowly but one month I had a big jump and I have been pushing myself ever since.
Thing is EVERY month I tell myself I won’t do it, that I have gone too far. I need to rest and reduce the miles. I do very few miles in the first week or two of the month. But then the third week comes and I am challenging myself, telling myself not to be stupid I can do it. But then this in turn brings me back to the guilt that I do have time to do this.
That really I should be doing something mundane like cleaning the house. Or I should at least be bringing more money in. This month I am telling myself that the 1,000 miles for the year should be my goal and NOT over 116 for the month.
Maybe I would feel less guilty if I had a set routine. I think I certainly need to have a major rethink about goals, and how much and when I will have exercising time for next year.
Achievements and Goals Other Than Exercise
Saying that I have been much better at some other habits I have tried to change. My sleep particularly is much better. I aim to be in bed by 10 every night and get up at 6@30-7. Although I admit I do not set an alarm when I do not have to as I never have problems with “too much” sleep. We do have the odd night when we push the boundaries, but generally 11 is a super late night (although we have had the odd 1 am this year).
I had also done really well with cutting out caffeine, switching to decaf teas. I had got into the habit of two caffeinated coffees at Costa each week but we received a coffee machine from the in-laws at Christmas and due to lockdown my consumption has spiraled a bit. In fact we even have instant too! This is then having a knock on effect on getting to bed on time – so I need to make more of an effort again next year. Sugar I struggle with – and generally eating better. In saying that I seem to have suddenly dropped a dress-size (discovered when my running gear started falling down!).
Do you have any ideas on forming better habits for Next Year?